Holiday Lesson

It's the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday at most stores; however, at our clinic pharmacy we are still relatively quiet.  The medical office is closed and we are pretty much the only going concern in the four story office building this Friday morning.  In the past we would be closed on this day but over the past few years we have tried our best to be indispensable to our adjoining community hospital.  In order to maintain our usefulness, we are available this particular day for emergency room prescriptions and hospital discharges.

Early on, about 15 minutes after opening, we receive a homeless gentleman from the emergency room.  He has all the regular indications of homelessness in our county including a distinct scent of urine, matted, worn and dirty clothing from head to toe, a torn back pack with all his belongings, and an address that reads homeless. 

We chat for a few minutes, review his orders, then continue on with our morning routine while we prepare his medications.  He had run out of his heart related medications a few days ago and followed the one path he can always count on for his refills, visit the emergency room.

As we are working on his prescriptions we notice that he is slowly working his way around the store, picking up things off the shelf and then replacing them.  Of course this peaked our suspicion.  Next, he is in the waiting area, hunched over his open backpack, near the shelves of snacks and treats.  We are watching him, certain that we are about to see him secretly grab a handful of snack to stuff in his backpack.

After he rummages for over two minutes, he turns and shuffles up to the pharmacy counter.  He leans himself against the counter and proceeds to place all of his quarters into our leukemia kids quarter collector.  My technician and I look at each other with shameful surprise.  This homeless individual, with little obvious to his name, took all the change he could find and willingly donated it to the leukemia foundation.

Such an incredible and valuable reminder to us this holiday season.  Regardless of how we look or smell, we are all children of this planet finding our way amongst all the others.